EPT9 Berlin Day 5: Do you want me to call? Poker’s curious rituals

April 26, 2013

The animal kingdom has made a fortune out of opening the doors to some of its extraordinary mating rituals. It is how we’ve seen things like the male hooded seal inflate its nasal cavities into pink balloons, a move that female hooded seals apparently find irresistible given that there exist a lot of hooded seals. It’s also how we know that the club winged manakin serenades the opposite sex using its wings, and is currently looking for an agent. Then there’s the materialist blowerbird, dating for character, using trinkets like ring pulls or tin foil to impress any female visitors to his nest.

In poker there may not be the reproductive element, but when someone is looking for a clue whether to call or not there’s a flirting ritual that takes place not unlike our friends in the animal kingdom.

The perfect example took place between Robert Auer and Robert Haigh.


Robert Auer

Facing a raise from Haigh in a sizeable pot, Auer took to his stack, his bright yellow and blue stack, and began moving chips around. Then the “flirt” the “I’m going to pick up some chips and make it look like I’m going to call, just to see how you react” moment. Auer did just this, looking directly at Haigh in the seat next to him as he did so. It’s primal, the survival instinct in full bloom. Come on, flinch!

Haigh did not flinch. Auer is now out by the way.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.

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